Evaluation of weed seed dispersal by off-road vehicles
The results from this completed study indicate that at least in the area where this study was conducted, off trail travel results in more seed movement than on trail travel, and that more seeds are likely to be moved in the fall than in the spring during both on and off trail ATV travel. A major question arising from these findings is this: How far are seeds being transported by ATVs? Casual observations made during the study indicate that seeds which became trapped in depressions or seams in the body panels of the ATVs would probably not be transported over a great distance. However, seeds which became lodged on the underbodies of the ATVs could potentially be transported a great distance. This is an obvious progression in research dealing with the vehicular transport of seed material but was not addressed in this particular study. However, this study was an important step in determining that ATVs are capable of transporting seed material.
This study illustrated that ATVs, like larger passenger vehicles, should be washed down frequently to prevent the potential movement of noxious weed species to areas where they are not presently established. Therefore, the role of ATVs in the movement and establishment of non native plant species should be seriously considered, and protocols (such as wash stations) should be put in place to limit the potential for these types of vehicles to transport non native plant species.
Click on an image to view as a slideshow.